The Timber Industry in Gippsland:

a Socio-economic assessment

September 2005 

This Socio-Economic Assessment of the Timber Industry in Gippsland, Victoria was commissioned by Gippsland Private Forestry Inc. (GPF) and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI), with GPF acting as project managers.

GPF is the regional Private Forestry Development Committee for Gippsland, whose role is to promote sustainable, commercial private forestry development in the Gippsland region. GPF receives funding to undertake this role from the Australian and Victorian Governments. DPI is the Victorian Government agency with responsibility for promotion of the sustainable development of primary industries in the State, including the timber industry.

In this report, the term timber industry is used to refer to the forests and forest (wood) products sector of the Gippsland economy. It includes the regional businesses engaged in the growing and managing of Gippslandís timber plantations and public and private native forests, the harvesting and haulage of wood products from these plantations and forests, and the primary and secondary processing of these resources.

The industry assessment was undertaken in mid 2004. This means it occurred following reductions in supply from the regionís public native (State) forests introduced under the Victorian Governmentís Our Forests Our Future policy in 2002. The assessment also occurred in the period when the salvage of timber damaged in public native forest areas following the Alpine fires of summer 2002/03 was underway. Unless otherwise stated, data presented in the report as current refers to the 2003/04 financial year.

For this analysis, the Gippsland region is deemed to include the Local Government Authority areas of Mornington Peninsula, Casey, Yarra Ranges, Cardinia, Bass Coast, (West); South Gippsland, Baw Baw, Latrobe, Wellington, (Central); and East Gippsland (East). In some of the analysis provided in the report, these LGAís are grouped into three sub-regions as shown in brackets above.

MBAC Consulting Pty Ltd was engaged to undertake the assessment and prepare this report. The approach taken by MBAC is described in the report. Much of the industry data came directly from the businesses involved in the forests and wood products sector of the Gippsland region, and the report authors and publishers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation freely given by the industry.

The report describes the nature and extent of the public and private forest resources available for harvest of timber in Gippsland, and the volumes by product class that are sourced from Gippsland forests and plantations, together with the mill door value of log and chip deliveries to processors. The regionís timber processing industry is characterised, along with the value of production following initial and secondary processing. The overall socio-economic contribution of the timber industry to Gippsland is summarised, with direct output value, employment numbers, value of wages, and revenue to governments expressed by sector and local government area. A comparison of the role of the timber industry in the Gippsland economy relative to two other industry sectors is provided. The socio-economic impact arising from realistic industry development scenarios is modelled to indicate the potential of development opportunities. The report concludes with a summary of Gippsland community attitudes and issues applying to the regionís timber industry.

This report on the timber industry in Gippsland complements similar socio-economic studies undertaken in South West Victoria, North East Victoria, and Central Victoria in recent years.

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